This week's news summary was prepared by Candyce L. Clifft from reports prepared during the week by staff of Missouri Digital News.
The Senate has postponed its debate on concealed weapons until the week of March 25. The bill would allow Missourians 21 oe older to apply for a three-year permit to carry a concealed weapon. The measure excludes people with criminal records, mental problems or histories of drug or alcohol abuse. However, the bill does not include a requirement that the issue be placed on the ballot for Missouri voters to decide. For this reason, Gov. Carnahan has threatened a veto.
Other stories on concealed weapons: Senate committee hears support for concealed weapons
Missourians can drive faster on interstates and highways. The governor signed the speed limit bill, and the new limits took effect March 13. The speed limit is 70 on interstates and some four-lane divided highways.
Other stories on Missouri speed limits:
Gov. Mel Carnahan scolded Republican Congressman Mel Hancock for his negative ads calling the governor "Tax Man Carnahan." Carnahan said the Republicans are trying to turn the tax proposal on the April 2 ballot into an issue for the fall gubenatorial campaign. Carnahan went further to challenge Hancock to run for the GOP nomination for governor.
State Auditor Margaret Kelly announced March 21 she will be a contender for the Republican nomination for governor. Kelly has been the state auditor for 12 years. At a news conference, she criticized Carnahan's tax plan and said her platform is the restructuring of government. Kelly is one of eight candidates seeking the governor's post.
The House is one step closer to passing safe schools legilsation. House bill sponsor, Rep. Steve McLuckie, said the few amendments to the bill made it stronger. McLuckie's bill includes state funding for alternative schools. A final House vote is expected the week of March 25.
Other stories about safe schools:
Anti-smoking forces rallied at the Capitol in opposition to a proposal that would block cities and towns from passing ordinances restricting tobacco sales.
The preemption proposal is contained in a bill before the Senate that toughens state regulation over tobacco sales.
Supporters say the measure would provide stronger enforcement of laws restricting sale of cigarettes to minors.
The House rejected an amendment to the state's budget that would have provided state funding for counseling on alternatives to abortion.
The vote was largely along party lines with a majority of House Democrats opposing the amendment and Republicans supporting it.
The issue divided anti-abortion forces. A majority of the Democrats anti-abortion caucus voted against the amendment.
Another amendment, to prohibit use of pregnancy counseling for promoting abortion, was dropped.
Meanwhile, still awaiting debate in both the House and Senate are proposals that would impose additional requirements on access to abortion services. The Senate version is similar to the bill the governor vetoed last year.
For more information, see the House vote on the abortion-alternative budget amendment.